Prep Basketball

5A No. 1 Iowa City High girls' basketball escapes 4A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier

Iowa State commit Aubrey Joens scores 28 points for unbeaten Little Hawks

IOWA CITY — The Iowa City High girls’ basketball team is off for winter break with its undefeated record intact.

After a close call with a short-handed Cedar Rapids Xavier squad, there will be plenty to work on before play resumes in two weeks.

“We caused some turnovers and that was probably the difference,” City High Coach Bill McTaggart said after the Class 5A No. 1 Little Hawks outlasted 4A No. 5 Xavier, 61-60, in a non-conference game Friday night at City High. “But our shot selection and ball movement was the worst it has been all year. Give credit to Xavier. We finally started to move the ball and when we move the ball, we get better shots. … We didn’t make them play much defense.”

City High (8-0) led by as many as 11 points at 30-19 early in the second quarter, but the Saints — playing without leading scorer Caitlynn Daniels (illness) — clawed back to within a point by halftime at 37-36.

“Defense was a huge factor in that,” said City High junior Aubrey Joens, an Iowa State commit who led all scorers with 28 points. “We lost our players, didn’t communicate as best as we could and I think that they just made a really good run.”

Within a span of 14:37, Xavier had outscored the Little Hawks, 34-17, and headed to the fourth quarter with a 53-47 advantage. While City High increased its defensive pressure, Joens and junior point guard Rose Nkumu combined for seven of the first eight points in the final frame to tie the game at 54-54 with 5:38 to go.

A Libby Arnold basket and a free throw from Emily Jasper helped Xavier reclaim the lead at 57-54 with 4:25 left, but a Nkumu steal and layup, plus a basket from freshman Eviyon Richardson, gave the Little Hawks the lead for good, 58-57.

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“We just really stepped up on defense and rebounding,” said City High sophomore forward Ella Cook, who finished with six points and six rebounds. “Our defense leads to our offense.”

Nkumu tallied 18 points and six rebounds.

Xavier (8-2) had four players score in double figures, led by freshman Aree Beckmann with 13. Senior Emily Jasper added 12 points and eight rebounds, while juniors Libby Arnold and Julia Shoger scored 10 points apiece.

Girls’ basketball

AT IOWA CITY HIGH

Class 5A No. 1 Iowa City High 61, 4A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier 60

C.R. XAVIER (60): Brielle Bastian 0 1-2 1, Aree Beckmann 6 0-0 13, Aubrey Jones 3 2-2 8, Libby Arnold 4 0-0 10, Julia Shoger 4 2-3 10, Mary Moeder 2 1-2 6, Emily Jasper 4 4-6 12, Totals 23 9-13 60.

I.C. HIGH (61): Rose Nkumu 7 4-5 18, Eviyon Richardson 2 0-2 4, Andie Westlake 0 0-0 0, Ella Cook 2 0-0 6, Paige Rocca 2 0-0 5, Aubrey Joens 12 2-5 28, Totals 25 6-12 61.

Halftime — City High, 37-36. Three-point goals — Xavier 4 (Arnold 2, Beckmann 1, Moeder 1); City High 5 (Cook 2, Joens 2, Rocca 1). Rebounds — Xavier 30 (Jasper 8, Shoger 8); City High 24 (Joens 7). Total fouls — Xavier 15, City High 12. Fouled out — Jones.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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